Sigaccess fy’10 Annual Report

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Awards Program

The SIGUCCS Awards Programs have been in place for a decade. The Penny Crane Award, renamed this year as the Penny Crane Award for Distinguished Service, recognizes significant multiple contributions to SIGUCCS and the profession from individuals over an extended period of time. The Hall of Fame awards recognize selected individuals who have contributed their time and energies to benefit SIGUCCS. For descriptions of the awards programs, please go to:

Penny Crane Award for Distinguished Service – Rob Paterson was the recipient of the 2009 Penny Crane Award. For more information please go to:

Hall of Fame – There were five people inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009. They were: Nancy Bauer-Runyan, Jim Kerlin (posthumously), Theresa Lockard, Lynnell Lacy, and Glenn Ricart.

Conference attendance grants – The SIGUCCS Grant Program provides partial support for students and employees in institutions of higher education to participate in the SIGUCCS Management Symposium or the SIGUCCS Fall Conference. This support is funded by SIGUCCS and consists of a complimentary conference registration and hotel room accommodations. The program completed its second year in 2009-2010.

From 19 applicants for Fall Conference grants, the following five people received grants:

Yvonne Clark (Juniata College), Charles Hall (Alabama State University), Ted Wheeler (Northwest Nazarene University), and students Jeremy Henle (Illinois Wesleyan University) and Erik Kostka (University of San Diego).

From 7 applicants for SIGUCCS Management Symposium grants, the following five people received grants:

Melody Buckner (University of Arizona), Kristen Dietiker (University of Washington), Navneet Goyal (Birla Institute of Technology and Science, India), Marsha McGough (Bastyr University, Seattle), and Kim Tracy (Northeastern Illinois University).

In selecting grant recipients, we favor applicants from institutions that have not been represented at recent SIGUCCS conferences. This approach is intended to make the conferences more widely known and build future attendance.

On January 1, 2010, Dennis Mar became Chair of the SIGUCCS Awards Selection Committee and John Bucher became Past Chair, following the rotation of the committee’s membership described at Two new members, John Lateulere and Terry Lockard, replaced Linda Downing and Jennifer Fajman, who retired from the committee at the end of 2009. In June of 2010, John Lateulere stepped down from the committee to avoid a possible conflict of interest and was replaced by Jim Bostick.

2009 Communications Awards - As we have done for many years, we held our Communications Awards competition in conjunction with the Fall Conference. A description of these awards and the 2009 winners can be found at: Judging for this competition is led by Greg Hanek who has overseen the Communications Awards competition for several years. The Communications Awards Committee is formed each year from the previous year’s top award winners in each category.


The thirty-seventh Fall Conference was held October 11-14, 2009 in St. Louis, Missouri, with the theme of “Communication, Collaboration.” Several presentations focused on remote delivery of instruction, services, and training, while others looked at information security and staff development, to pick just a few common themes from the panoply of topics covered. In addition to papers and posters, the conference organizers introduced two new types of session to the Fall Conference. LeadIT sessions were led by experienced IT professionals who spoke on subjects related to management and leadership, while DiscussIT sessions allowed all participants in a program track to engage in a facilitated discussion of shared issues and problems. The keynote speakers were Jason Young of LeadSmart, Inc., and Cynthia Golden of the University of Pittsburgh, talking about customer service and leadership, respectively. For the complete program, see

The SIGUCCS Management Symposium was held from April 19-21, 2010 in Victoria, British Columbia. The theme was “IT – A Beacon for Innovation and Growth.” The program featured discussions of strategic planning, project management, leadership, and the implementation of new technologies on campus. Plenary addresses were given by Richard Katz of EDUCAUSE and Mark Roman of the University of Victoria. The complete program is available at

Special Projects

Two projects that were underway at the time of last year’s annual report have been completed, or at least reached the stage where continued work on them is part of the organizational routine. The revamped SIGUCCS web site went live early in October 2009. Paul Hyde of the University of Delaware provided much of the technical expertise for developing the new site, with the guidance of a subcommittee of the board.

The memorandum of understanding with ResNet was signed in July 2009. Because SIGUCCS and ResNet are both organizations of people providing IT services in higher education, close cooperation makes sense. However, that commonality also means that both of us are suffering from the same economic forces that have depressed university support for travel and professional development. As a result, not all aspects of the cooperation envisaged in the memorandum of understanding have been implemented yet. We have, at least, had the opportunity to promote SIGUCCS at each of the past two ResNet annual conferences.

One of the hallmarks of SIGUCCS conferences has been the opportunity to interact with colleagues at other institutions who are facing the same issues and problems. We have long been interested in finding ways to continue that interaction between conferences. This year, we have initiated two means of doing so.

First, we have established an on-line community using Ning’s social networking service and linked its portal to our new web site. The community has so far attracted 100 members who have to varying degrees taken advantage of the ability to initiate discussions, create groups, contribute to blogs, and share photographs and other information.

Second, we began a series of webinars which we intend to continue on a quarterly basis. The first took place in January 2010. The second one was scheduled for April but postponed when the presenter fell ill. (The rescheduled webinar took place just last week.) Each attracted more than 70 registrants, and the feedback to date has been very positive. The topics covered so far have both been in the realm of staff development, but we expect that the webinars will range widely over the interests of SIGUCCS members. We are considering using the same medium for other purposes, including periodic open SIG meetings and an informational session about the board’s role prior to formulating a slate of candidates for the next election. We already use our webinar service for our monthly Board conference calls.


The most important issue facing us now is the same one described in last year’s report: the economic downturn and its effect on college and university finances. Participation in our conferences, from submission of papers through attendance at the conference, depends on college and university support for staff travel and professional development—support which has been greatly curtailed over the past two years. Attendance at the fall conference in St. Louis was 100 people fewer than the smallest conference in the preceding 10 years. It is slight consolation that similar conferences (ResNet’s is an example) have experienced corresponding precipitous drops in attendance. More encouraging is that the Management Symposium saw a slight increase in attendance from 2009 to 2010, although both Symposiums were down from the four years preceding 2009.

We are working on this problem on two fronts: marketing to attract more registrants—especially among what we suspect is still a relatively large group of higher education IT professionals who are not familiar with SIGUCCS—and judicious adjustments to conference budgets to achieve better financial results without reducing the value and appeal of the events. We renewed our subscription to a mailing list of IT directors and managers in higher education and are using it to let them know about our conferences, grants, and award programs. We have made small increases in our conference registration fees and are looking carefully for ways to cut conference expenses without reducing the essential value of the conference.

A related development, setting another challenge for ourselves, is the decision made last fall to change our conference schedule so that each year we offer a single conference that combines the content of the two existing meetings. As described in last year’s report, the motivation for this change was not primarily financial, but it should enable us to lower our conference costs. The challenge will be to preserve the audience (and its associated revenue), especially during the transition to the new conference schedule.

The first combined conference, named simply SIGUCCS 2011, will occur in November 2011 in San Diego. We have been fortunate to attract an energetic group of experienced volunteers to the conference committee. Planning for the new event compels us to re-think our old practices and to devise new practices that exploit the combined structure.

SIGWEB FY’10 Annual Report

July 2009 - June 2010

Submitted by: Ethan Munson, Chair
SIGWEB represents a unique and interdisciplinary research community centered on augmenting the human intellect, a vision articulated by the legendary computing pioneer Douglas Engelbart nearly half a century ago. Engelbart, Ted Nelson, and other early researchers realized this vision through hypermedia systems, which are still of interest to the SIGWEB community today, including the World Wide Web, the largest hypermedia system ever built. Modern researchers have found a host of other realizations of this vision, ranging from digital libraries to knowledge management systems. SIGWEB includes more than just computer researchers and professionals, though. From cognitive psychologists to ethnographers to anthropologists to hypertext writers, SIGWEB embraces those researchers and practitioners that address how people use computers, so that better tools for augmenting the human intellect can be built. SIGWEB also balances the findings of the research world with the experiences of the practical world, in which our ideas and theories are tested daily.
SIGWEB (originally SIGLINK) was founded 19 years ago to provide a home for the hypertext community and the ACM Hypertext conference. Over the years, SIGWEB has changed its name and has begun to sponsor a wide range of conferences encompassing hypertext, the Web, digital libraries, and document engineering.
The current officers had their terms extended in 2009. Elections for new officers will be conducted in Spring 2011. The membership of the Executive Committee for the 2009-11 term is:
Ethan Munson (Chair)

Maria de Graça C. Pimentel (Vice-Chair)

Simon Harper (Secretary/Treasurer)

Yeliz Yesilada (Information Director)

Darren Lunn (Newsletter Editor)

Claus Atzenbeck (Interviews Associate Editor)

Peter Brusilovsky (Member-at-large)
The technical meetings sponsored by SIGWEB were:

  • ACM Symposium on Document Engineering (DocEng) 2009
    (held in September 2009 in Munich, Germany)

  • ACM Conference on Information and Knowledge Management 2009
    (held in October 2009 in Hong Kong, China)

  • ACM International Conference on Web Search and Data Mining (WSDM 2010)
    (held February 2010 in New York City, USA)

  • ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries (JCDL) 2010
    (held June 2010 in Surfer’s Paradise, Australia)

  • ACM Conference on Hypertext and Hypermedia (HT) 2010
    (held June 2010 in Toronto, Canada)

The awards presented by SIGWEB in FY 2010 were:

  • The Douglas C. Engelbart Best Paper Award for 2010 (HT 2010)
    “Hyperorders and Transclusion: Understanding Dimensional Hypertext”
    James Goulding, Tim Brailsford and Helen Ashman

  • The Theodor Holm Nelson Newcomer Award for 2010 (HT 2010)
    “iMapping – A Zooming User Interface Approach for Personal and Semantic Knowledge Management”
    Heiko Haller and Andreas Abecker

  • The Vannevar Bush Award for 2010 (JCDL 2010)
    “Transferring Structural Markup Across Translations Using Multilingual Alignment and Projection”

  • David Bamman, Alison Babeu, and Gregory Crane

As recently as 2002, SIGWEB was sponsoring only two conferences, HT (100%) and JCDL (34%). About this time, SIGWEB’s leaders embarked on a plan to expand the SIG’s scope via a wider range of sponsorships. SIGWEB now sponsors five conferences regularly and is in the final stages of making an agreement with the Web Science Trust to sponsor the Web Science conference series.
SIGWEB’s finances have strengthened considerably over the past few years. The SIG’s fund balance stands at over $530,000, which is an increase of about $100,000 over June 2008.
SIGWEB’s conferences have generally been making profits and in some cases have made large profits. This has been the primary reason for the increasing fund balance. SIGWEB’s executive committee has also made sure that SIG operating budgets are in surplus. As a result, the SIG has started new initiatives and is providing somewhat more support for SIG activities.
In June 2010, SIGWEB had 666 members (466 professional, 57 student, and 143 affiliate). This is a substantial increase from June 2007 (535 total) and June 2008 (644 total), but a decline from June 2009 (699 total). The Executive Committee will track this trend in the next year.
Like many ACM SIGs, SIGWEB had seen falling membership in recent years. While the declines were not precipitous, they were a real cause for concern and the Executive Committee has taken several actions to successfully reverse this trend:

  • SIGWEB has been giving complimentary SIGWEB memberships to attendees at our two 100% sponsored conferences (Hypertext and DocEng). The hope is that members will continue their memberships in years that they do not attend. More importantly, we hope that more of them will be willing to be volunteers. Predictably, first year retention has dropped from about 47% to 40%, but overall retention looks acceptable. The Executive Committee continues to monitor this initiative.

  • SIGWEB has restarted its newsletter. The primary distribution medium is the Internet, but a one-page color flyer containing abbreviated articles with URLs is mailed to all members. This is done in the belief that a physical document is easier to share and provides a tangible reminder of membership. Overall, we consider this effort a success and we are considering expanding the format to a four-page format (single 11x17 sheet, folded), provided that we can do so at reasonable cost.

  • SIGWEB has initiated a Student Travel Award program, modeled on those of SIGIR and SIGAPP, for its 100%-sponsored conferences. In 2009, about $10,000 was given for students presenting at Hypertext 2009 and DocEng 2009 ($5000 each). In 2010, about $17,000 in total will be given for Hypertext, JCDL, and DocEng. This is a way that SIGWEB can return some of its surpluses to the community and it is certainly popular with the participants.

  • SIGWEB has worked to strengthen its traditional flagship conference by broadening its scope to include Social Linking and Networking. The meeting saw a dramatic increase in attendance in 2009 (from 90 to 150), but this was somewhat illusory, because the host institute allowed for many complimentary registrations. Attendance in 2010 was solid at about 100, so the conference appears stable, but may not be growing.

Volunteer development has been another challenge for SIGWEB. It has become particularly acute as the SIG’s sponsorships have become more diffuse and our flagship conference (Hypertext) has seen falling attendance. Starting in FY 2008, SIGWEB formed a SIGWEB Advisory Committee that is a proper superset of the Executive Committee. This Advisory Committee discusses policy issues and plans for SIGWEB via an online group. Formal policy decisions continue to rest with the Executive Committee. The Advisory Committee’s membership includes representatives from each sponsored conference, past officers, past candidates for office, and others who are active in SIGWEB projects. The goals of the Advisory Committee are multiple. It broadens the pool of people who are discussing SIGWEB policy and activities and can be prepared to serve as officers in the future. It should strengthen the connection between SIGWEB and the conferences that it sponsors. Finally, it helps ensure that SIGWEB listens to its constituents.

SIGWEB has continued to explore other conference sponsorships. In April 2010, the SIGWEB Chair attended the Web Science 2010 Conference where he reached a verbal agreement that SIGWEB will become the sponsor of the Web Science Conference series. Remaining work on this task includes the creation of a set of by-laws for a steering committee for the conference series that makes clear the roles of SIGWEB (as financial sponsor) and the Web Science Trust (as the founding research institution, for wont of a better description).
SIGWEB has successfully expanded its range of conference sponsorships and is continuing this trend. SIGWEB is also working hard on membership and volunteer development. SIGWEB is financially healthy and has solid leadership.


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